Licence To Wed

Director    Ken Kwapis
Starring    Mandy Moore, John Krasinski, Robin Williams, Eric Christian Olsen, Christine Taylor
Release    July 3rd (US) August 10th (UK)    Certificate 12A
1 stars


12th August 2007

Fellas, I'm sorry - I got totally pussy-whipped. When you spend the summer watching robots kick the crap out of each other and Bruce Willis fighting jet planes, then you've got to pencil in a little time for the ladies. Romantic comedies are necessary evils for boys - you turn up at the girlfriend's request, zone out for an hour and a half, and if you can tune back in by the time Matthew McConaughey realises the error of his ways, then consider it a job well done - you might even get sex as a reward. But Jesus Christ, if those 90 minutes aren't soul-crushing. Girls, you think pregnancy is an ordeal? Try watching a Reese Witherspoon movie through a male pair of eyes. I'd happily shit a watermelon if I never had to see another Kate Hudson movie as long as I live.

Licence To Wed is my punishment for a summer of testosterone. Mandy Moore and John Krasinski - Jim (aka Tim) from the American version of The Office - are a young couple who are due to wed, but before they do, they must enrol on a programme run by Moore's family priest, played by Robin Williams, to see if they're truly compatible. Oh, and did I mention Robin Williams is crazy? Because he is! Strap yourselves in kids, this is going to be a crazy ride! Crazy I tells ya!

For girls, this kind of film is perfect. It's undemanding, predictable and soppier than a 'Love Is...' birthday card. For boys, it's like being castrated. I would honestly rather watch the Holocaust In Colour than sit through this again. The female appeal only became apparent once the movie had started - girls like weddings, so it reasons they like wedding films too. This film could have been a succession of still photographs of a pretty girl wearing a nice dress and it would get the same reaction out of them. Every new scene in which Mandy enters, you'll get a 'She looks nice!' or a 'I love her hair!' For girls, shit like this is pretty much the same as flicking through a fashion magazine. It's the kind of film that magazines like Now, Reveal and Flaps call "hilarious" and "must-see." Needless to say, I almost grew a pair of tits watching it.

It doesn't help that the couple in question are poorly written and one-dimensional. They're as wet as each other; she discovers he hasn't written his vows yet and threatens to derail the entire marriage, while he could put the whole sorry mess behind him if he just stood up for himself. These two whinging fuckers deserve each other, alright. The only possible saviour would be Robin Williams, but he phones it in - he even looks bored on the poster. Williams has a frenetic, contagious zeal and is capable of great things when he wants, but this is him on a 2, maybe a 3. You'll get more energy from a potato. He even puts on his infamous 'black preacher voice'. Yawn.

What you have here is three actors with potential, going through the motions and waiting for the cheque - Williams we can forgive for taking the odd payday, but Moore and Krasinski have promising careers ahead of them, careers that only have room for a few turds on the CV before they end up guest-starring on Baywatch 2040. Various Office bit-players fill out the cast, while Eric Christian Olsen and Christine Taylor literally have about three lines each. Obviously the script spoke to them.

I'm not going to apologise for having more Y-chromosomes than you, girls. This kind of shit will not stand. If you're not giving it up with some serious bedroom rodeo antics after this, then you should be arrested for cruelty. An overly-soppy, laugh-free, formulaic comedy with literally no redeeming features, Licence To Wed is the worst kind of film - one that panders to 'what girls want' and simultaneously emasculates the men in the audience by making the male protagonist such a pussy-whipped asshole. That's pretty much what you'll be if you let the girlfriend drag you along to see this movie. I should know, I already took one for the team. The next film we go and see is going to be so manly, if the girlfriend doesn't sprout a cock and balls I'll be disappointed.

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